Dad Is Fat
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This is a comedic book through and through. If you enjoy Jim Gaffigan’s stand up for more than just his Hot Pocket sketch, then stop reading right now and go buy this book. Jim has taken many of his life experiences as a parent, child, husband, and channeled them into this book. After all, Jim has five kids and has a good number of unique stories to tell as a result. His self deprecating, lazy humor is as funny as ever.
If you were expecting a novel then look somewhere else. Outside of one story where Jim is told he shall rue the day he took a nap, the rest of the book is an endless stream of short stories and jokes. I am not sure how that sounds, but let’s put it this way, it is near perfect.
It comes in at around 270 pages and I burned through it in less than a day. A work day, no less. It won’t challenge you to be a better person and there aren’t any plot twists, however it will have you laughing. I found myself reading excerpts to other people around me as I read through it. A lot of it is quotable, just like his stand up.
Here is an excerpt from the book:
“Every year after Jeannie has her annual baby, I receive congratulations from friends and family. There’s always one person who says, “Oh, you just had a baby. Yeah, we just got a puppy.” What? In no other situation could you compare a human to an animal and people would actually be okay with it. You could never say, “Oh, you just got married? Yeah, I used to have a pig. Does your new wife like to roll around in mud, too? My pig loved that.”
Of course, the dog-and-baby comparison is nothing new. Dog owners are sincere and mean no insult. Their dog is their “baby.” But, of course, a dog is not a baby. It’s a dog. I also understand some people prefer dogs to babies. We are raising our children in New York City, which is not the most popular place to have children. If you hear someone cooing, “Oh, how cute!” on the street in NYC, you better look down, because they are going to be referring to a dog.
It’s a good thing babies have no idea how often they are compared to dogs. I would think that would be pretty insulting to the babies. Let me be clear. I love all animals. I love to pet them. I love to eat them. I’m an all-around animal lover, but besides the drooling and whimpering, your dog is not that similar to a baby. Take the smells, for instance. Babies are the two extremes on the spectrum of smell. They either smell like heaven filled with lollipops or like a microwaved cesspool. The cleanest of clean dogs still smells like a dog.
Allow me to list a few other differences:
1. Dogs come when you call their name.
2. The absence of birth control does not lead to pet ownership.
3. You don’t have to worry about your dog ever becoming addicted to meth.
4. You do not have to save so your dog can go to college and then find out after they graduate that they want to be an actor.
5. If someone is pushing a baby in a stroller, they are probably a parent or a caregiver. If someone is pushing a dog in a stroller, they are probably insane.
In some ways, having a kid is easier than having a dog. When you go on vacation, you don’t have to kennel your kids (although a kid kennel is an intriguing new business idea— you’re welcome). You can stay in any hotel with your kids, and you don’t have to hide them when room service comes. I mean, sometimes I do, but that’s only because I’m hiding my fries from my kids. With children, you can look forward to a time when they eventually learn to feed and bathe themselves. If you give a dog a bar of soap and put it in the bathroom, it is going to eat the bar of soap. Dogs and kids are both affectionate, but dogs always have dog breath. Or soapy dog breath.
Occasionally, a dog will be presented as some training method for having a baby. “My girlfriend and I got a dog. We are going to see if we can handle that before we have kids.” This is a little like testing the waters of being a vegetarian by having lettuce on your burger. Okay, maybe that metaphor doesn’t make sense, but neither does using a dog as a training method for having a baby.”
See what I mean? The entire book is like this and it never gets old or loses steam. Jim’s comedic timing still comes through perfectly here as it does in his stand up. He is a naturally gifted writer which is strange since he seems like someone who is too pale and fat to be good at anything.
I did mention the book was near perfect and not perfect. So what are its faults? There are three curse words in the book. He says not to call your wife a bi***, quotes his dad saying God da**** once, and one other thing that I cannot remember off the top of my head, but it was on the same level as the other two examples. This is the only time these things are said and do little to detract from this near perfect book. A couple of times he uses Jesus and God to make a joke, but it is very clean and not at all offensive.
The subject matter is about being a parent for the entire length of the book so I cannot imagine anyone under 18 wanting to read it anyways. Either way, I can recommend the book to anyone who enjoys his stand up.
+ Lots of good stories that expand on his jokes.
+ Tons of new jokes as well that had me laughing out loud.
+ His comedic timing shines through in this book.
- Three instances of language.